Botox is one of the most “in things” these days. Loads of people swear by it and there are many who swear against it. Botox along with fillers are considered the “holy grail” against ageing. But did you know that Botox is actually a toxin?? Sounds Strange, but yes it is. The whole beauty of using botox in medical science is that we have been able to use its lethal effect for our benefit.
What is Botox?
Botox is actually a trade name for botulinium toxin. This toxin is produced by a bacteria named Clostridium Botulinium. There are various other brands and companies which distribute this toxin, e.g Dysport, Myobloc, Xeomine. The name Botox have been used everywhere in this article only because the name has become synonymous with botulinium toxin and for your ease of reading.
How Botox works?
When botox is injected into a particular muscle or nerve, it paralyzes them and blocks their function, without any unwanted effects on any other body parts. Also the effect of botox is temporary. It slowly gets eliminated by the body and the paralyzed muscle regains its lost power.
Botox as an anti ageing tool
Botox is widely used in aesthetic practise these days, to help get rid of lines and wrinkles on face. Wrinkles are caused due to over working muscle. When we make expressions with our face, we are contracting the muscle on that particluar part. For eg, when we frown, we contract our forehead muscle. When these muscles are contracted day in and out, they become overtly active and gives rise to ugly big folds and wrinkles, everytime we make some expression. These are called dynamic wrinkles.
If the muscles are injected with botox, they become paralyzed and thereby ease out the wrinkles and folds. So, when you frown next, there would be no lines on your forehead.
Ideal candidate for botox injections
Any one above the age of 18 can get themself injected with botox, though pregnant and lactating females should avoid it. Botox injection smoothens out the prominent expression wrinkles or dynamic wrinkles from the face, giving a more youthful appearance. The botox works best on these :
- Crow’s feet. These are the lines which appears on the sides of both eyes, when we smile.
- Forehead lines. These are horizntal lines appearing on forehead when we raise both our eyebrows.
- Frown lines. Vertical lines in between our eyebrows when we frown.
- Bunny lines. Lines on the sides of the nose when we smile.
- Gummy Smile. In few of us, the gums gets overexposed when we smile…..like Akshay Kumar. The visibility of gum can be reduced with botox injection.
- Jaw line. The bulky jaw line, on the sides, can be toned up with botox injections.
What to expect during and after Botox injections
- Usually before injections, an anesthesia cream is applied on the area to be injected, to minimize the pain and discomfort.
- Before injecting, the dermatologist would ask you to make various expressions so as to identify the muscle which needs to be treated.
- There might be slight redness at the injection site, with fades away in few hours.
- Rarely, there can be a small bruise at the injection site. This resolves away completely within week/ten days time.
- The result of botox would be evident at least after 5-7 days of injection.
- At times, a touch up with botox is needed after 7-10 days of injection, for better results.
- The effect of botox starts fading away in 4-6 months time. So, to maintain the results, one needs to undergo botox injections every 6-8 months. If botox is done at regular intervals, the amount of botox required decreases with every session and also the effect lasts longer.
Does Botox have any side effects?
- There can redness, bruising, itching, or rashes at the site of injection or flu like symptoms
- If the injected amount spreads in the nearby muscles, it can cause additional weakness of that muscle too. To avoid this:
- It is always advised not to rub or massage the injected area.
- Avoid bending, stooping and lying down for 2-4 hours. Its advisable to keep an upright posture for few hours.
- Avoid heavy exercising, gymming and sauna for the day.
But again, this side effect is temporary. The effect of this dispersed drug fades away soon and one can have normal muscle activity within few weeks. Always inform your dermatologist if it happens.
- Rarely botox can cause difficulty in breathing, eating, smiling etc if a wrong muscle is injected. If any of these appears, please refer to a dermatologist.
Who should not take botox?
- A person suffering from any muscle or nerve related problem like Myasthenia Gravis should not opt for botox.
- Someone who had an allergic episode with any of the botulinium toxin brand, should not go for different brands. If allergic to one brand, most likely they will be allergic to other brands too.
- If there is any infection at the injection site, botox should be postponed till the area is completely normal.
Botox is one of the most common non surgical anti ageing procedure, opted by people these days. If done under the guidance of an experienced dermatologist, it gives very gratifying results.
Non cosmetic use of Botox in Dermatology
Apart from its cosmetic use, Botulinium toxin is also used to treat excessive sweating from axilla and hands. The effect of these injections last through one summer season (4-6months). So those bothered by excess sweating can get themselves injected in the beginning of summer to enjoy a dry spell through out the season.